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NEW YORK (Billboard) - Good news for Adam Lambert fans. But possibly not as good for the "American Idol" runner-up and his label bosses.
A small indie label will release Lambert's debut album this summer, months before Lambert's "official" debut on 19 Recordings/RCA Records is expected to reach stores.
Depending on who you believe, Lambert is either "blown away" by the material on the unofficial release, or is distancing himself from the project.
Entitled "On With The Show," the album was co-written and recorded by Lambert before his turn on the talent show. It will be released by Hi Fi Recordings/Wilshire Records.
The first single, "Want," is streaming now on the Hi Fi Web site, and according to the company's CEO John Hecker, the rest of the tracks will sound similar.
"The music's amazing," said Hecker. "There are some uptempo (songs), there's some that rock a little more, and there are some songs on the same tip as 'Want.' It's a real album that's coming out, not just a conglomerate of a bunch of songs. This is all original material -- as a matter of fact, Adam wrote a lot of it."
According to Hi Fi, Lambert even visited the Wilshire Records studio in Los Angeles as recently as last month to hear it. "He was in the Wilshire Records studio right before the finale actually, and he was blown away by the material," Hecker said.
Hi Fi did not notify 19/RCA about its intent to release Lambert's debut album before announcing the news on Friday. "I bet they know now," Hecker said.
Later, Lambert issued a statement through 19. "Back in 2005 when I was a struggling artist, I was hired as a studio singer to lend my vocals to tracks written by someone else," he said. "I was broke at the time and this was my chance to make a few bucks, so I jumped at the opportunity to record for my first time in a professional studio. The work I did back then in no way reflects the music I am currently in the studio working on. I'm thrilled to be working with some of today's hottest songwriters and producers and can't wait for people to hear what my music really sounds like."
Lambert is working with Lady GaGa producer RedOne and with ex-Evanesence songwriter David Hodges on the 19/RCA album.
Hecker said he was "100%" confident that his company has the legal right to debut its Lambert album before 19/RCA does theirs. "We would never put anything out that wasn't fully owned by the parties involved with all the rights secured. We were really careful."
He declined to discuss financial details, "but I can tell you that Adam will share in the success."
Hecker said he was approached by Wilshire Records about releasing Lambert's material soon after the singer made his first appearance on "Idol" in January.
"When they first discussed it with me I was really hesitant, because usually when there's music that's been recorded earlier, the stuff isn't so good. This stuff is unbelievable. We saw that it was the right thing for fans to hear this music. We're doing everything on the highest level, from the mixes to how we're promoting it."
Hi Fi Recordings is the label home of Melinda Doolitle, who finished third on Season 6 of "American Idol" and was a favorite contestant of Simon Cowell.
Editing by Dean Gooodman at Reuters